NASA Dubs 2024 Moon Mission 'Artemis,' Asks for $1.6 Billion

Shrinking Moon may be experiencing powerful quakes to this day

Seismic activity on the moon is causing it to shrink and wrinkle "like a raisin", according to an earth-shattering new study.

"Just as a grape wrinkles as it shrinks down to a raisin, the Moon gets wrinkles as it shrinks", say the team of NASA scientists. Instead, its brittle surface cracks as it shrinks, resulting in "thrust faults", or cliffs akin to stair steps, per CNN.

"This is exciting as it wasn't clear if the moon had already gone through this period billions of years ago and was tectonically dead, or if it was still active in the present", Schmerr said. If they had been on Earth, the quakes would have registered between a 2 and a 5 on the Moment Magnitude scale, according to the researchers.

The scarps tend to be around 10yds high and a few miles long - making them resemble a giant stairway on the lunar surface.

Astronauts placed five seismometers on the moon's surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions.

Now though, researchers in the U.S. and Canada, have used a problem-solving computer program called a relocation algorithm to help determine whereabouts the waves may have struck from.

As a result, researchers were able to "tentatively attribute" the recorded quakes to the faults.

Six out of the eight tectonically active moonquakes occurred when the Moon was at or close to its apogee, the point where it's most distant from Earth and where the diurnal and recession stresses create the most compression near the tidal axis.

NASA's planned mission to the moon-which aims to put the first woman on the lunar surface by 2024- has been named Artemis after the ancient Greek goddess who is the daughter of Zeus and Leto.

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Although the Apollo seismometers are switched off since 1977.

It turns out, that a large proportion of the quakes coincide with young fault scarps; a displacement of the land caused by a shortening, or contraction, of the crust. Additionally, while other events, such as meteoroid impacts, can produce quakes, they produce a different seismic signature than quakes made by fault slip events.

A team of scientists examined data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and compared it to the location of tremors recorded during the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s, Newsweek reported. Finally, in 2024, a Space Launch System rocket would fly a crewed Orion to the lunar outpost, and (likely) two astronauts would descend from there to the surface and back.

"Now we find ourselves in the position where the United States has not sent an American astronaut beyond low-Earth orbit in 45 years".

NASA says the moon isn't the only part of our solar system that is "shrinking with age", as planet Mercury has shrank more than the moon has.

"We have to figure out how small rocky bodies like the Moon can retain their interior heat over billions of years".

"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars", Trump tweeted on Monday.

"It's the boost NASA needs to move forward with design, development and exploration", the agency said.

The newly accelerated goal - an endeavor likely to cost tens of billions of dollars - comes as NASA has struggled with the help of private partners to resume human space missions from USA soil for the first time since the shuttle program ended in 2011.

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